WDEL's Delaware EducationWatch
with Amy Cherry

UD developing disaster response robots

Hubo, the walking humanoid robot.
We've already got robot controlled cars like the Google car, but a trio of University of Delaware professors are looking to take that technology one step further.

Christopher Rasmussen: "We are adding capabilities to it so that it can drive a car and drive like we drive."

Christopher Rasmussen, an associate professor of Computer and Information Sciences, is taking part in the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Challenge along with nine other schools on their team.

The hope is that these robots can be used in place of humans in disaster situations like the partial meltdown at Fukushima in Japan

Rasmussen: "We use a robot to go in and not only do reconnaissance but actually fix the problem, maybe go find a valve and turn it off."

By the time they're done, this robot needs to be able to do all kinds of tasks.

Rasmussen: "They want a robot to be able to open the door, and go up the stairs, move around rubble, pick up a tool and use a wrench to close something or a drill or even a jackhammer to break through a wall."

In December of 2014, the teams will compete for a grand prize of $2 million.

Check out the team's vision for robotic disaster response by 2020:

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